The findings, published today in the journal Cell Reports,and put into context in an article in Trends in Neuroscience, show that patterns of brain activity that occur during the day are replayed at fast-forward speed during sleep.
This replayed activity happens in part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is our central filing system for memories. The key new finding is that sleep replay strengthens the microscopic connections between nerve cells that are active – a process deemed critical for consolidating memories. Therefore, by selecting which daytime activity patterns are replayed, sleep can sort and retain important information.
Lead researcher Dr Jack Mellor, from the
The research team involved the